Back to the wall, the Raptors let their survival instinct speak. They start the meeting foot to the floor and proceed in attack (12/21 on shots, 3/6 from 3-pointers) in the first quarter. But the 76ers, with Joel Embiid starting strong (10 points), are not left out either and are in the rear view mirror of their opponents after the first 12 minutes (29-27).
The rest of the first half is much less glorious for Philly: 14 points in the second quarter, and the first whistles from the Wells Fargo Center public are heard. Rightly so, because Doc Rivers’ troop does not show the desire and motivation of a team that can potentially qualify for the second round of the playoffs at the end of this match.
Conversely, the Raptors continue their impeccable match, with an aggressive defense, and an attack that does the job without being exceptional (25 points at 10/22 in the second quarter), under the impetus of a very good Scottie Barnes (12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals). At the break, Toronto is +13 (54-41) and displays an unshakable confidence, which almost suggests that the Raptors are the team in a strong position in this series.
The second half, on the whole, is of the same ilk. Despite an interesting third quarter and a few passages that could portend a revival in the last act, the 76ers are simply not on the level. Particularly in attack (8/22 in the fourth quarter), like a James Harden who was only a shadow of himself throughout this Game 5 (15 points at 4/ 11, 5 balls lost).
Despite Fred VanVleet’s absence, the Raptors got the job done. Serious in attack and united in defense, they left no chance to the residents of a Wells Fargo Center which empties well before the final buzzer, and offer themselves an important and highly deserved victory (103-88). On the brink a few days ago, Toronto completely relaunched the series and placed enormous pressure on the shoulders of the 76ers players, who must now return to Canada to play a high-tension Game 6.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– The Sixers pierced in the racket. Like Joel Embiid, who struggled in defense against the incessant drives of Raptors players, the Sixers failed to protect their racquet. They concede a total of 56 points in the paint, more than half of Toronto’s total points in the entire encounter. Clumsy behind the arc (8/31), Nick Nurse’s men found the solution by approaching the circle.
– The decline of the Sixers offense. In this series, the 76ers offense loses efficiency game after game. Because after having planted 131 points in Game 1, the total fell to 112, 104, 102 then 88 in this Game 5. A worrying observation, not to say particularly alarming, while the Raptors are in the process of reducing their delay in this series…
✅ The Raptors Major Five. The incumbents scored 74 of the Raptors’ 103 points, with a special mention for Pascal Siakam, who in the continuity of his very good Game 4, shone again. In the absence of Fred VanVleet, the Cameroonian strong winger is the hub in attack: he compiles 23 points (10/17), 10 rebounds and 7 assists. Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby contribute 16 points each, while Scottie Barnes signs a full game with 12 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.
✅ Precious Achiuwa. Coming off the bench, the former Heat player was the X factor in this match, which was very little oriented towards attack. With 17 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks, he shone on both sides of the field, not hesitating, in attack, to go for Joel Embiid in the racket, the Cameroonian of the 76ers being plagued by foul problems during the meet.
⛔️ The 76ers bench. It would be unfair to only point fingers at the replacements in this collective sinking, but difficult to ignore their inefficiency. Because the 76ers bench only scored 11 points, 4/15 on shots… Impossible to win a playoff game in this context, especially when the incumbents are hardly more effective. From the five major to the substitutes, passing by Doc Rivers and his choices, the 76ers must imperatively come out of their lethargy in attack. Because the Raptors are waiting for them firmly at Game 6.
Game 6: in Toronto, Thursday night to Friday, at 1 a.m.